• Over the seven weeks to January 7, group like-for-likes jumped 5%, or 1.7% on a constant currency basis
  • Group like-for-likes increased 3.5%, or 0.5% on a constant currency basis, over the wider 18-week period
  • Margins remained within Debenhams’ full-year guidance

Debenhams group like-for-likes rose 5% over Christmas as the department store’s online sales jumped 17%.

On a constant currency basis, like-for-likes edged up 1.7% in the seven weeks to January 7.

Over the wider 18-week period group like-for-likes edged up 3.5%, or 0.5% on a constant currency basis, with UK like-for-likes up 1%.

The department store’s margins held firm over the period, and fell between its full year guidance of between –25 basis points and +25 basis points, although the retailer said its sales mix continues to be dilutive.

Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher said: “I’m pleased with the performance we have achieved in the key trading weeks of Black Friday and over the Christmas peak, given the challenges in the broader environment and the strong performance last year.

“The resilience of Debenhams’ differentiated offer is beginning to show through, with the growth we have driven in beauty and gifting.

“It’s encouraging to see that the service improvements we have made helped us to deliver strong multichannel sales growth.”

Reducing promotions

Debenhams said it had reduced the participation of promotion over Christmas as it reduced markdown for the sixth season in a row.

There was a 2% improvement in full price sell-through over the period.

However, it said it had a “successful Black Friday” with strong year-on-year growth online and in stores.

Debenhams made progress with its strategy to reduce its dependency on clothing with beauty and gifts growing strongly over the period.

Non-clothing accounted for 57% of sales.

However, the retailer said it had maintained market share in clothing while reducing both the number of options and level of discounts.